Patients forced to share old linen in winter - report

20 August 2010 - 08:51
By Alex Matlala

PATIENTS at the beleaguered Nkhensani Hospital in Giyani, Limpopo, have spent the cold winter season without blankets.

This revelation was made by the chairperson of the Limpopo Junior Doctors Association, Tende Makofane, yesterday.

Makofane said patients were forced to share old linen that had holes in order to brave the cold winter weather.

The report comes after a month-long investigation by the association, which indicated that there was a serious collapse of services in most Limpopo hospitals.

"Limpopo has experienced the worst weather this year that damaged crops, especially potatoes and tomatoes. Most parts of the province were covered in snow and frost which killed most plants.

"If the weather was able to kill crops, what do you think would happen to patients whose health condition was unwell?" asked Makofane.

He said their investigations had also revealed that the protracted water problem faced by Nkhensani still prevailed.

It was also discovered that visitors to the hospital were forced to buy water at nearby shops and filling stations to drink.

Nkhensani is not the only hospital in the province faced with crippling challenges. St Ritas, Jane Furse, Voortrekker and Tshilidzini hospitals are struggling with the same problems.

St Ritas has about 70percent vacancy rate of doctors after six senior doctors resigned.

The only theatre in Voortrekker is not functional and there are no anesthetic machines. The roof of the hospital's pharmacy is on the verge of collapse, posing a serious threat of klebsialla, which causes pneumonia and meningitis, and there is no X-ray machine in Jane Furse.

Tshilidzini Hospital has an old anesthetic machine with blunt surgical equipments that often injured doctors and patients during operations.

Provincial spokesperson for the department of health Roleta Lebelo refuted the allegations, saying Makofane's research left much to be desired.

Lebelo said according to their files, there was enough water and linen at Nkhensani Hospital, but she, however, undertook to investigate further.